Today I bring you the much anticipated interview with Winston Emerson; author of A Circle in the Woods, The Drought, What Thing Had Escaped ( Part One ), and the fascinating web series The Object.
Winston is very excited to share with us the news of his upcoming book release "The Object: Book One."
I had the great opportunity to sit down with Winston and ask him a few questions, so read on to catch an inside glimpse of this amazing author!
Bella: First off, Winston, I want to thank you for doing this interview with me. I am a big fan, and I am so thrilled to feature you here on Tales of the Wolf Queen, and I am so excited to help spread the news of your latest book. Before we get to that however, tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
Winston: I've been thinking about this question for the last ten minutes. Right now I am listening to a musician someone recommended to me, and it's one of those moments when you discover and connect with something real and meaningful that you've never before encountered. This guy's command of his words is remarkable. You don't see too many people in any artistic medium who commit themselves fully to their pursuit. I guess that's all I care to say about myself: I have no desire in life but to write books, and, if that leads to substantial income, set an example for what people--especially rich people--should do with their money. We have a lot of problems in the world, and aside from those caused by weather and the tectonic plates, they can all be fixed. All it takes is resources. And time. So why not? Why can't we all pause for a moment in our various and violent financial battles, property disputes, and debates over what God's name should be, and all at once begin to treat the world like an inner city park that we need to clean up.
To our current readers, I want to thank you for sticking around for so long and let you know you're in for some surprises when we serialize Book Two. The Object is about to get more dynamic than we initially planned, and to those of you who aren't from Louisville, we're going to be working with other local artists to help bring the city to life, with guest appearances in the form of music, art, and writing, all incorporated into the episodes.
I guess I really didn't talk about myself there, but I'm not that interesting anyway.
B: Actually, you said a lot about yourself, and your character. That was great!
The Object started as a web series on your website What Is The Object, for free. What made you decide to switch from web format to publishing in print, or vice versa?
Winston: Releasing Book One in paperback is part of the design of this project. The online serialization is a great way to connect with the people and build an audience who will support it, but in print the scope of the thing isn't limited to our extended social network. Out in the hands of the people, a book can run wild. We'd graffiti a train with the story if that train traveled to readers we otherwise couldn't reach. Amazon's KDP Select offers a great opportunity to writers, but most don't know how to properly harness its potential.
B: When is the official release date for The Object: Book One, and what will happen to the web availability of the series once the book hits?
Winston: By the time this interview is live, both the Kindle edition and the paperback of The Object: Book One will be available, released on November 1st. The episodes will be pulled down from the blog on that date, as well, to comply with the terms of the KDP Select program. For the next three months Book One will only be available for sale. After the 90 day enrollment period is over, we will then return all episodes to the blog and begin the free serialization of Book Two. So if you want to read it for free, subscribe to our blog so you'll be notified when it comes up as such.
B: One of the really cool things about the web series is the reader poll at the end of each episode. What made you decide to do that; and what results have come from it? Has it helped you write future episodes? It reminds me a little of those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books from when I was a kid. I loved those.
Winston: It's the easiest way to learn things about my audience. People are more inclined to click a button than comment or contact you directly. From the polls, I've learned which characters are loved or hated, which characters no one cares about, my reader's favorite genres, how they found my blog, and loads of other useful information that can be used to improve this entire experience. And yes, sometimes we post polls in which the readers vote and decide how the story progresses. The three book series is all pre-planned, so these polls never deal with events that could alter the course of the entire story....for now.
B: Anything else you want our readers to know?
Winston: This story operates much like a T.V. series--i.e. The Walking Dead, The Wire, The Sopranos--in that it follows a host of characters from all walks of life whose lives all intertwine. Lillia, a sixteen-year-old foster child now alone in the city, is the primary character, but there's someone here for every reader.
I'd just like to invite you to come and spend five minutes with Episode One. If you find yourself wanting to read on, please do. Leave a comment if you wish. Email me. If the story doesn't appeal to you, thanks for taking the time to check it out.
B: I can attest to that. The web series is actually the last thing I read from you. I had read your books, not knowing you had the web series. However, from the very first Episode, I was hooked.
A lot of interviews deal with the business side of publishing, but today I want to ask you more about how you actually write.
What do you do to mentally and emotionally prepare to write? Do you have any particular things you have to do before you sit down to write? What about special music, a particular location, a time of day, a favorite beverage that must be on hand? What puts you in the mind frame to write?
Winston: I just sit at the kitchen table with a laptop right now, but I'm getting a desk soon. I also carry a leather journal around so I can write down ideas when they come to me. I have a tendency to clean the house before I start writing. Messiness corrupts my brain. This makes my wife happy. Otherwise, I don't have any particular routine. I wrote my entire first novel lying on the floor in my bedroom.
B: I understand that. A messy house drives me nuts. I can't think in clutter!
I suppose I should ask the age old question of where you draw inspiration from. What or who is your muse?
Winston: My story ideas generally come from daydreaming. I find myself playing out scenarios in my head and something just clicks, so I write it down. Sometimes they come from thoughts that begin something like, "Man, it would be crazy if..."
B: Have you always wanted to write? Have you written since you were younger, or is it a more recent endeavor?
Winston: I grew up reading books. I was one of those kids who got called out by the teacher for reading instead of paying attention. (Terrible student, right?) One night when I was fourteen, my older sister talked me into doing the dishes, even though it was her turn. I tried to rush through them because I wanted to watch the new South Park. Consequently, a glass broke in my hand and sliced my thumb wide open, down to the bone. The next day I stayed home from school because the doctor had used the wrong local anesthetic and my whole hand was swollen. I spent the morning finishing a book I'd been reading, and when I read the last line, I thought, "This book sucks. I could do better than that." A light bulb appeared over my head, and I wrote my first short story that day. From then until April 20th, 2004, a six-year stretch ending with the completion of my second novel, I wrote every single day, including Christmas, Thanksgiving, my birthday, and the day my house burned down.
B: The day your house burned down? Now THAT is dedication!
What are some things you like to do when you are not writing? Do you ever work your personal interests into your writing?
Winston: I enjoy studying and discussing the great works from all our artistic mediums: film, television, literature, music, art, etc. I've been known to play some poker (in case The Drought didn't make that painfully obvious). I've seen the Dave Matthews Band eight times (nine after December, when they come to Louisville) and I've spent a lot of time converting people into DMB fanatics. My wife and I got a dog recently and named him Django after the upcoming Quentin Tarantino film. Last night we went to Louisville to watch Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master. I highly recommend it.
B: Yes, The Drought had a ton of poker in it, but I play as well, so that was pretty awesome to me.
I have to ask you about The Drought. You wrote that under the pen name of Lily White, using your (totally adorable) wife as the author picture. The Drought was the first thing I have ever read from you, and I loved it, I hated for the book to end. I got all my friends to read it, and they loved it too. You said in another article that it was a mess, and that you should not have published it. Why is that?
Winston: There are many typographical errors in The Drought that need to be corrected. The book is also a little bloated at 275,000 words. I could tell the same story in 200,000 words and not lose anything. So basically just some line editing and a little trim and I'd be happy with it. You'll note from some of the reviews that plenty of readers are annoyed by the problems, but then again others look past it and love the story.
B: A Circle in the Woods was the next thing I read from you, and I will be honest, it was a hard read for me at first. The book blurb said that it was written in an experimental style, but reviews have said it reads like it is in desperate need of a good editor. What made you decide to write in that particular style?
Winston: I guess there's something else people should know about me: I'm a little crazy, and if I decide I'm going to write a book with all the words upside down and scrambled, I'm going to do it. A Circle in the Woods is just like any other novel, only it's impressionistic, lyrical, and void of quotation marks. Some people can't stand it. Others say it's one of the most brilliant things they've ever read and they can't stop thinking about it. I personally love A Circle in the Woods, and I won't say that about anything else I've ever written. If you can become truly immersed in the story, the mystery and darkness of it will follow you into your dreams. And maybe then you can come to realize who or what Phil Stapleton truly is.
B: It threw me at first, but after a couple of chapters, I did not even notice the writing style anymore. The story drew me in and refused to let go!
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do to get over it?
Winston: I don't believe in writer's block. If you can't think of anything to write, start describing your immediate environment with you as the protagonist. Then suddenly inject something crazy. See where it takes you.
B: Great advice! I will have to try that the next time I get stuck on something.
Finally, what’s next for you? Will you continue exclusively with The Object, or are there other books just waiting to come out?
Winston: Here's the list, in order: Prettiest When It's Dying, What Thing Had Escaped (Part Two), The Object: Book Two, and then a novel I can't wait to start writing, tentatively entitled Ready. All of these will be released this and next year. Then we'll go from there!
B: I just read What Thing Had Escaped (Part One) and it was amazing. I cannot wait for part Two to come out!
Thank you Winston, for being here with us today and giving us some insight into you and your writing process. Good luck with the launching of The Object: Book One, and I hope to hear more from you soon!
Winston: Thanks for having me!
So there you have it folks. Be sure to check out The Object on the web to see what this is all about, and head over to Amazon and pick up A Circle in the Woods, and of course, The Object: Book One.
To find Winston in other places around the web, check out these links:
Amazon Author Page
Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you all have a wonderful day!
I like the cover. A lot.
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